Katriona Dean, a self-taught visual artist in Cobourg, Ontario near Peterborough who loves art projects that braid the arts and music together, has hit a home run by creating a Toronto Blue Jay street piano that is now on display in downtown Cobourg.
Katriona Dean creating Blue Jay piano
The nearly 100-year-old piano she used for her creation—called "Arpejayo" (more on that later)—is part of a Key’s to Our Town creative art project put on by the Town of Cobourg.
"This is my 4th year being a part of this initiative for Cobourg," Dean tells PTBOCanada. "They have always sat at the northwest corner of Victoria park in Cobourg, which is why my pianos have a very organic/woodland feel about them [she did a fox, raccoon and owl in previous years]. I wait for inspiration to hit me. 'Arpejayo' came to me in a dream one night after the town issued the call for artists to this project."
COMMUNITY EVENTS: Town of Cobourg unveils pianos for this year’s Key’s to Our Town creative art project. pic.twitter.com/5OZnFNGM8U
Katriona, who tells PTBOCanada she is a huge Jays fan—"I became a Jays fan last September when I attended my first game," she says—conceived of the Blue Jay piano in a dream, woke up and grabbed some markers and rendered her vision to paper. This was the sketch you drew...
Then her drawing began to take shape in real life through a transformation in a chapel in Cobourg. "The piece took about 35 hours to complete, between hand carving with an angle grinder for the beak and top feathers, and then priming and painting," Dean tells PTBOCanada.
Here it is coming together in stages...
The piano was just transported out of the chapel to its home in downtown Cobourg...
Dean loves this community art project: "It brings complete strangers together in a positive way to share a common enjoyment," she tells PTBOCanada. "The creative collision is boundless! I like to say that art unites us."
Katriona reached out on social media for names for her piano and chose "Arpejayo".
"I knew Arpejayo would be it, but it wasn't until I used Wikipedia to search the actual term—Arpeggio—that the real synergy became apparent," she tells PTBOCanada. "It's a 'broken chord' in music—I only work on broken pianos, and I work to make them new again to have a second life, with more potential for enjoyment and creativity. This piano turns 100 this year. It's had many lives before this one. I love that, that they're relics from another time. My wish is that the pianos continue to unite people from all walks of life and to create smiles, laughter, dancing and music for everyone."